Make your own shisha tobacco – the ultimate guide

shisha tobacco

Why should I make shisha tobacco myself??
Is not this a huge effort?

This article is about how to make shisha tobacco itself and what things you need to consider.

Composition of
Shisha Tobacco

First of all, I would like to discuss with you the composition of shisha tobacco.
All figures are approximate and can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer.
15-20% tobacco (Virginia)
80-85% molasses

The so-called molasses makes of the Shisha tobacco between 80-85% from. However, this must not be molasses
as it is also popularly called can be confused with.
Molasses is namely dark sugar cane syrup and can but must not be a component of the molasses.


For shisha tobacco it is preferable to use the variety Virginia.
There are a few varieties and variations with Burley tobacco (very strong, high nicotine content).
But these can be smoked very badly cozy, because they are very rich in nicotine.
Virginia is a yellow-colored tobacco leaf but can also be slightly light brown depending on the variety.
The nicotine content of the untreated Virginia leaf is between 1 and 3.5%.

What is molasses?

Molasses is the liquid used to moisten the tobacco to make it shisha tobacco.
It consists of 2-4 essential ingredients.
The Humectant, the flavor and optionally one Sweetener.

Make your own shisha tobacco - the ultimate guide


The humectant in shisha tobacco is always the so-called Glycerin or in the technical language Vegetable Glycerine (vegetable glycerine) with VG abbreviated.
It accounts for up to 90% of the molasses depending on the blend. It is viscous at room temperature, colorless, odorless and greasy.
It has a density of 1.26g/cm³. This means that 100ml of glycerine weigh 126g.


Make your own shisha tobacco - the ultimate guide

The flavoring gives the shisha tobacco its taste. The exact mixture of flavors and their sources are kept secret by the manufacturers.
Mostly high dosed aroma concentrates are used. They consist of propylene glycol (PG) and aroma.
Propylene glycol (1,2-propanediol) is a colorless, odorless liquid with about the weight of water (


There are several sweeteners that are used in shisha tobacco. The most common are Honey, glucose, fructose and Molasses.
They are used to sweeten the tobacco and mask bitter substances in the tobacco, and ensure better cohesion of the ingredients.
The proportion of sweeteners can range from 0 to 15% depending on the mixing ratio.

Why is it called shisha tobacco at all

Based on this knowledge Tobacco content of shisha tobacco only at ca 20% (17-18% to be more precise) lies, the question is justified in my opinion.
The tobacco is the carrier in shisha tobacco, which ideally absorbs all the molasses.
This should leave only moist and aromatic smelling tobacco shreds in the end.
And so only the tobacco shreds remain visible for the consumer.
However, there are now already a few alternatives such as steam stones, pastes and even absorbent cotton used as a substitute.
Smoking with steam stones is smoother and often a little less aromatic.
Because the nicotine contained in the tobacco is a flavor carrier for the aroma and thus makes it more intense.

Now that we have discussed the most important points of shisha tobacco, here are the instructions for making it yourself.

Overview of the instructions

  1. Washing tobacco (optional)
  2. Stripping tobacco
  3. Crush the tobacco
  4. Moisten tobacco

First of all you have to ask yourself

Contribution: Where to get the tobacco?
Contents: What tobacco do I use, check the quality of the tobacco

Buy Virginia tobacco(normal shisha tobacco, golden-orange colored),
Buy Burley tobacco (more nicotine, dark brown).
Raw tobacco leaves are not taxed in Germany according to the tobacco law, so it is declared as deco tobacco.(as of:Sep 2020)

If you already have your raw tobacco you can just read on and if you have Finished tobacco chips bought you can
you can skip steps 1-3.
Jump to step 4

1. Washing tobacco (optional)

Washing tobacco is optional and not absolutely necessary, there are normally no hygienic reasons for doing so.
Washing takes care of washing nicotine out of the tobacco,
because nicotine is soluble with water.
Washing should be done at the following points.

  • If you often get a nicotine flash (nicotine shock: dizziness, discomfort) when smoking shisha, you should wash the tobacco.
  • Some molasses taste only with washed tobacco. In advance, you should wash one part and leave one part unwashed and moisten and test both with the appropriate molasses

I consider washing tobacco to be a laborious process.
The nicotine will dirty the sink and should be cleaned thoroughly afterwards to avoid stains.
The smell from washing spreads in the apartment and lasts for a few more hours. Airing is recommended.

Now we come to the washing process. Depending on your mood, you can let it brew between Wash 1-5 times.
You have to hang up the tobacco after washing it. I usually use laundry racks for this purpose.
Only a few 100g can be washed at a time because hanging each leaf of tobacco takes up a lot of space.

What do I need to wash?

A kettle, A key or pot or bucket , a clotheshorse(s) or a clothesline(s)

You weigh your desired amount of tobacco.
You should do this according to your hanging possibilities (approx. 100g per rack).
Then put the tobacco in a heat resistant container (bucket, bowl, pot)
Then fill water into the kettle to the maximum possible amount and turn it on.
When this is done, pour the boiling water into the container with the tobacco and press it a little (be careful with hot water)!).
If the tobacco is not completely covered with water, make more hot water with the kettle and pour it into
the vessel and repeats the process should it still not be enough.

After 10 min of infusing you can dump the water and squeeze the tobacco leaves (be careful still hot!).
Then the first wash is finished. Now, if you want to do more than one wash, you can wash the tobacco
wet tobacco back into the bowl and wash again with boiling water.

I take my time with the washing process and let everything ca. stand for 1 hour. Then the water is harmless warm.

Now comes the laborious part of washing.
After wringing out the leaves, each leaf must be hung individually, otherwise there is a risk that the leaves will mold.
Moldy leaves can no longer be used!
The leaves usually still drip and you should put old newspaper or cover foil under the leaves.
Depending on the time of year and temperature, it can take from a few hours (more than 25°C) to several days to dry out.
By washing the tobacco loses a few grams of weight.

I count the tobacco as dried when it can still be bent without breaking.
If you let the tobacco get drier it burns too fast when smoking and can often absorb less molasses.
Also the stripping of the tobacco becomes more difficult if it is too dry.

2. Stripping tobacco

For the stripping you only need your hands, but it is advisable to wear gloves.
Alternatively, there are also machines that can make the job easier.
A simple google search for tobaccoandmachines should find what you are looking for.
One should completely remove the center stem from each tobacco leaf.
If it becomes quite thin in the front, you can neglect it.
In addition, each leaf must be checked individually to see if a secondary stem also has thick branches.
These must then also be removed.
The fastest way is to lay many leaves next to you and systematically de-rib them one by one.
You should hold the middle stem with one hand and try to get the tobacco leaf off with the other hand.
Most of the time there are leftover pieces hanging on the trunk, if you let them hang on you will be faster but you will lose a few grams of usable material
Tobacco. The loss of weight during stripping is between 10% and 30% (for one kg, between 100-300g loss),
depending on how thick the center stems are and how carefully you handle the waste.
The more precise you are, the higher the quality of the tobacco will be later on.

3. Crushing tobacco

In the last step of the shisha tobacco processing, the large tobacco leaves must be processed into small tobacco shreds.
There are several ways to do this. The simplest is to use a old Mixers.
I think it is extremely unhygienic to use a blender that is still used for food, but you will have to work that out for yourself.
When using a blender, make sure that the tobacco is not pulverized. Depending on the blender and the shape it can take up to several hours to grind a kilogram of tobacco.

The second method is the good old scissors for this is either a textile scissors good or but a hedge trimmer.
With both, several layers of tobacco leaves can be cut at once.
Also the combination of cutting with scissors and chopping with the blender to the final size can save a lot of time.

Tip: A rather unconventional procedure, but very effective.
The brush cutter or lawn trimmer. Build yourself a box in which you can install the scythe closed.
For example, a plastic bucket with a split lid, you can put a whole bucket of tobacco leaves in a few minutes
Process to the right size.
Again, do not turn it into powder!

The way I do it is that I usually produce a larger quantity than I put in.
Here you can find an article
How to store prepared tobacco?

4. Insert the tobacco

A list of ready-made molasses which I have already tested can be found here:
My already used molasses

A list of the best molasses
-O’s or Ocars
-Pirate’s Breath

Put the tobacco in

The tobacco is now ready to be put into the molasses.
With the inserting there are several approaches, but I find it is matter of taste, how damply or dryly one itself his
Tobacco would like to make. As a simple indicator, for 100ml (120g) of molasses you should use approx. Use 20g of tobacco.
And it is here that tastes vary. If I want it a little wetter I use only 17-19g.
If it is too moist for me, I just add a little tobacco to it.
In addition, the drying state of the tobacco itself is decisive for how much it can absorb.

You should also examine the tobacco after a few days and after stirring to be able to determine the real humidity.

The only way to make the tobacco moister is to pour additional molasses or glycerine over it,
drier it goes with more tobacco leaves almost always.
If you only pour glycerin over it, the tobacco loses overall flavor.

The tobacco needs a few days to weeks to become ready to smoke, this depends on the tobacco and the molasses.
Stirring the tobacco every few days ensures that the flavor is evenly distributed throughout the leaves.


To make shisha tobacco yourself, you need a few steps, time and tools.
Washing raw tobacco isn’t essential (It is for some molasses).
The order of processing can be exchanged, but in my opinion makes more work and therefore no sense.
After stripping the tobacco leaves, the raw tobacco leaf becomes taxable smoking tobacco.
The thus self-produced tobacco may only be used for personal use.

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